Journal Archives

  1. There is no such thing as a pure meritocracy.

    Every few months, it seems like, when the Internet gets its big knickers on and does something righteous, invariably, someone somewhere gets up on a stage and declares that anyone, if the idea is good enough, can be successful on the Internet. Whether that’s a business plan, a political campaign or a cultural meme: you, too, can make it big. It’s our American rugged individualism, intertwined with what looks like an open digital frontier, all packaged up into an utopian bliss for the new century.

    What’s true is that more people than ever have access to information, tools and networks that make things happen. And while the news often covers the darker sides of connective technologies like the Internet and mobile devices becoming mainstream, there’s plenty of good to celebrate. Look at just this past week in Internet do-gooding: A video showing a school bus monitor being gut-wrenchingly harassed by 13-year-old boys until she cried sparked a fundraising campaign for her, one that’s now reached over $650,000.

    Where things go awry in the analysis of these kinds of situations is two-fold: one, that there is a secret to making something “go viral” (short answer: there isn’t), and two, anyone can create explosive story at any time if the story has merit. If you’re good enough and smart enough, doggone it, people will like you. And you will win the Internet.

    Read the rest over on Forbes.com.
  2. YouTube Preview Image
     Full text of this talk is available here.
  3. It was a banner weekend for gender-washing on the Internet. First up: anotherwise decent article in the New York Times on Ellen Pao’s discrimination suit — a lawsuit that’s threatening to shake up Silicon Valley bro culture, thankfully — started out by erasing women’s contributions to the birth of the Internet. “Men invented the Internet.” Line 1, paragraph 1. Men.

    [Read the rest on Forbes.]

  4. I’m super excited to announce that the (very successful!) pilot of my Social Media for Social Justice workshop is expanding to two new locations in the coming weeks!

    • New York: May 24th, 1-5pm at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 434 W. 33rd Street, (between 9th & 10th Aves), New York, NY 10001
    • Chicago: June 4th, 1-5pm at In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago IL 60647

    Here’s what we’ll be covering:

    You know about social media. You know that you’ve got to get on board with it for your organization, or for your own activist work. You may have even signed up for Twitter or Facebook already, but you don’t know where to start. What are the right tools to use? What do I say? Why are other people doing this? And, perhaps, most importantly: how the hell do I know if it’s working?!

    In this introductory intensive workshop, we’ll cover everything from the culture and politics of social media (and why that’s critical to understand), to the essential elements of a social media strategy, to some tools to manage your presences efficiently, to metrics and analytics to keep you on track.

    This workshop is designed for social media beginners who work with social justice movements, labor unions, community organizers, and media makers who want to know how and why to incorporate new tools into their practice.

    If that sounds like what you need, use the links to the cities above to register. Group discounts and scholarships are available! And if you want to bring me to your town (or to your organization or event), just get in touch with Jen at Aid & Abet and we’ll work it out.

  5. The back story: Long ago, when Rick Santorum was campaigning and working on several extremely socially conservative agendas in Pennsylvania, advice columnist Dan Savage launched a (pretty fun) campaign to change the search results for Santorum’s name. Go over to Spreading Santorum for the full story, but for a long time, that was the #1 result when you searched for Santorum.

    Now that Santorum is a candidate, the site has gotten more attention again, but it’s fallen in the ranking of search results. Already people are claiming that Santorum successfully pressured Google to change its results and drop the Spreading site. I doubt this is true for a variety of reasons.

    1. Google may cave to political pressure in other countries (albeit with some transparency about why, how and how it can be tracked), but I do have a really hard time believing that they’d do something like this for a US candidate for president. It would be a PR nightmare, and they know it.

    2. There’s a lot more linkage to Santorum’s own candidacy site, his Wikipedia page and other more official sites than ever before. This is going to affect everyone’s search results to some degree, in part because of the timing. I’m sure a lot of the links to Spreading Santorum are older, and the links to the official pages are newer. This changes search results to reflect the current state of the web as it grows/evolves.

    3. Finally, there’s the issue that all of our search results are individualized, based on our prior search history, our social connections in places like Google+, and much more. If I google “Deanna,” I’m the 3rd most popular Deanna in the world. If someone else who doesn’t know me, who doesn’t have a connection to me, googles “Deanna,” they might not see me. (Before personalized search results, I was at least in the top ten, haha.) So in this case, when I google “Santorum,” it’s still result #4 for me. That might not be true for others.

    Just another day clarifying before we totally run down the rabbit hole of technology conspiracies. :-)

  6. Introduction

    There are a lot of ways to cover the Komen/PP firestorm–too many, in fact. For the purposes of my work here, I’m going to focus on what made this brouhaha different than any other concerning Planned Parenthood, the lessons learned if you’re on the defensive, and the lessons learned if you’re on the offensive.

    Read more →

  7. My segment starts at 38min 37sec; I come on at 41min.

  8. I’m really psyched to announce that in partnership with my speaking agency, Aid & Abet, I’m launching a series of boot camps across the country. Our pilot is in San Francisco on March 5, 2012:

    You know about social media. You know that you’ve got to get on board with it for your organization, or for your own activist work. You may have even signed up for Twitter or Facebook already, but you don’t know where to start. What are the right tools to use? What do I say? Why are other people doing this? And, perhaps, most importantly: how the hell do I know if it’s working?!

    View the full event page for the whole description and pricing information, and to register. We’re also offering scholarships for those in need.

    WE ARE GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN.

    Oh, and speaking of need, I should mention how this idea came about– a lot of people come to Jen Angel (of Aid & Abet) and I looking for a hands-on workshop, but can’t afford to bring me into their organization or event. This workshop will get folks who need it the most, working on the front lines, the skills they need without emptying their budgets.

    Based on how things go in SF, I’ll be offering this boot camp in other cities (likely next up will be NYC and DC), and possibly online. If you’re interested helping to host one in other cities, please let us know– leave a comment below or send me an email. And, if you’re interested in bringing me to your organization for a group training or strategy session, drop Jen a line.

  9. Increasingly, I’m getting mentions from people with whom I’m not familiar, asking to click on links to their work. I see this happening to my friends, too, so I thought I’d collect and share my responses to one Twitter user on why this doesn’t work that well.

    This isn’t a criticism of anyone’s projects– I’m sure they’re fabulous! — but rather an offer of help on how to get people to look at stuff.
    .@gbedard1 ok, time for some free advice. People pay thousands for this (or they just buy my book, haha), so take notes:
    randomdeanna
    September 9, 2011
    .@gbedard1 I don’t have a relationship to you or your work, so randomly tweeting me isn’t going to make me click your link
    randomdeanna
    September 9, 2011
    .@gbedard1 when I check out who you are, I see you’re randomly tweeting a lot of ppl, so now you kinda look like a spammer. oh noes!
    randomdeanna
    September 9, 2011
    .@gbedard1 Twitter isn’t a shortcut to popularity. It’s a means to build relationships.
    randomdeanna
    September 9, 2011
    .@gbedard1 So start getting to know the ppl whose attention you want, and let them get to know you. *Then* pitch them shamelessly. :) /end
    randomdeanna
    September 9, 2011

     UPDATE: I got a little swipe about my ego being too big to click on links. Granted, my ego is ginormous (ask anyone who knows me intimately offline), but for once, it doesn’t have much to do with the situation at hand. I’m just explaining here how important the relationship mechanism is for sharing information– it’s called “social” media for a reason. Tee hee.

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